Category Archives: Friends

And now that September is almost gone!

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As you can tell from my lack of blogging, September has been busy. I’ve done 4 babies this month. We started another year of homeschooling. This is our first “official” year as Gabrielle is registered in Kindergarten through the homeschooling program at the school.IMG_0209

For our first day of school, we made a time capsule, to be opened on the last day of school. She has goals for this year. She wants to learn how to climb trees, read and write, and finally, she wants to learn every bone in the human body. Ya know, nothing lofty for an almost-five-year old.IMG_0216

This is our first day of “school” with the Spring Leaves program at Pender Elementary school. I’d say we are on the right track! A sunny beach day, really it doesn’t get better.IMG_0221 IMG_0606

Because kindergarten is mostly about games, we play lots of games. For reading, we obviously use books, we use the game like the one above. And I picked up a sight-word Bingo game. And we do lots of letter practice by writing notes and signs. For math, I picked up a Saxon math curriculum from another homeschooling mama who was getting rid of it. It’s a bit advanced for her yet and since we want to keep everything light and fun, we do a lot of playing with cuisinaire rods.

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We extracted honey, with another batch coming. It’s delicious. Different than last year. I found last year’s batch quite dark, and the year before, quite light. This year you can taste a burst of flowers at the end. It’s divine!

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I got to be involved in a Doula Get-together. Past clients brought their babies to the park and we ate snacks and got to visit. It was so wonderful to see these families. They are so so dear to my heart and I felt very blessed to be invited into their lives through such a big transition. Thank you for coming friends.

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And then just because I have permission, here are some beautiful babies that have come this month. Oh aren’t they squishy delicious?

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Happy Autumn!

Portlanding

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Charlotte did a beautiful post on our trip to Portland together. You can find it here. It is such a completing and wonderfully written post, that I hesitated to add anything to it. So I’ll just add a little.IMG_20150806_153849

Charlotte and I met online when we were both pregnant and living on boats. There was an immediate mutual admiration and connection because of this lifestyle choice. We communicated often through social media, through an online forum that Eric and Charlotte started. And we blogged and got peaks into each other’s lives. Charlotte’s generousity and her openness appealed to me immensely.

The first time we physically met was in Mexico when I was invited to attend her birth. Who says no to an offer like that? Our families spent a month together, living as neighbours as we waited for Charlotte to go into labour, and then as we were able to be there for the first two weeks of Lyra’s life.

After Mexico, we weren’t sure when we would see each other again. Then tragically, we met up in Texas to attend Kitty’s funeral.

Meeting to first attend a birth and then attend a funeral, it seemed we had covered the heavier aspects of life. Now it was time to have fun. And fun was had!

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I took the train from Vancouver to Portland. I had never travelled by train in North America. It will certainly not be my last time. It was such a sophisticated way to travel. I mean, they didn’t start serving alcohol until 7am but that can be forgiven. The seats were spacious, the cost was low. The food on Amtraks is terrible. I can drink some pretty bad coffee but I could not stomach this stuff. So, I highly recommend the train. But bring your own snacks and coffee!

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The scenery is amazing. The passengers are fascinating. There are plug outlets so that if you don’t get lucky enough to sit next to anyone, you can use your laptop.

And then, there is Portland itself.

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Portland has this really cool vibe to it. Where everyone is wearing a cool, funky, retro or completely bizarre t-shirt. We saw many examples of these shirts in stores.

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I loved the fun quirky stores, the thrifting, the micro-brewery beers on tap, the knit shops, the book store. But the people were the best.

 

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Portland was the kind of place that is just waiting for the flash mob to happen and then everyone in the city would join in.

For example, Charlotte and I had been preparing to see each other by challenging each other to do 100 push ups a day. The first afternoon we arrived, we did push ups on the side walk before we went out. The next time we did push ups, our beautiful host Jessica joined us. The next time, two of her neighbours joined in. By the last day we were there, there were 12 people on the side walk doing push ups together. (Including a couple people that just happened to be walking by.) The people of Portland seem to be up for anything and they are willing to make time for weird and random happenings. This attitude of openness was so fun!

In our wanderings, Charlotte and I came across a store that sold beekeeping paraphernalia and mead. They were primarily selling equipment for Kenyan top bar hives, which I hadn’t seen very often. But they had the regular Langstroth hives too. Also, there was lots of tasty mead.

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Thank you to the beautiful Jessica for hosting us. Your place is beautiful and was completely ideal for us. Thank you to all the wonderful people we met by chance and happen-stance, by their sense of humour, by letting us try to guess and then never succeeding in guessing their names.

And a hugest warmest Thank you to my sweet friend Charlotte. I’m so grateful for you in my life. Your sense of adventure in living on a boat, then inviting me to Mexico, (Heck! Birthing in Mexico takes guts!) sailing across the ocean and being up for pretty much anything! This is just one of the qualities I love about you, friend. Here’s to the next city we take by storm.

And thank you to our wonderful husbands for watching the kids, encouraging our adventures and friendship.

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Thanks Portland, for keeping it weird.

Haven’t been Pendering for a while…

We have been off adventuring lately.

I took May off-call and we have been taking advantage of the time but running away from our tiny island, running to some friends who we often don’t get to see because they are really much too far away for a quick run. So we flew instead.

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We are really lucky that Gabrielle is a seasoned traveller. She is already on her second passport at the formidable age of 4. And she is really good at it. If we remember to bring snacks.

And yes, she is wearing hot pink hippy dreads in her hair…

Can’t take the Pender out of the child…

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Marcus and Holly have lived in Edmonton for several years now and it is not exactly a place we get to visiting very often. It was so much fun to see them and their kids in their “natural habitat.” Marcus and Marc have been friends for just about 20 years and they are the kind of friends that we called each other when we got engaged, or got pregnant, or just bought a house (them, not us.) They are the kind of friends where we know their extended families and there is much that goes unspoken. They are even the kind of friends that after our children have enormous screaming tantrums, we pour wine/beer/whiskey and laugh over how monstrous parenting can be at times.

They are the kind of friends that we are happy to have our whole life.

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I also got to visit with friends of mine who moved away from Pender. Wee Paisley was one of Gabrielle’s very first friends. They were instantly glued together at one and a half. And even though Paisley moved away when they were just around 2 years old, Paisley still is insistently invited to every birthday party or every other major event in Gabrielle’s life. Whether she comes or not. Paisley is legend. And well, I feel the same way about her mom.

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Hearken back to these days:

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This picture is in the days where Gabrielle and Paisley were just about two years old and Brynna, a surly three.

Anyway, Edmonton offered us rare opportunities we do not usually find on Pender. Like, I had a chance to sport my Winter coat in Edmonton in May, because I didn’t get a chance to model my winter wears on Pender this year. Yeah, it was too mild.

Gabrielle felt bad for the bare little trees, so she did what any good Penderling would do.

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She talked about knitting them sweaters and hugged and kissed them until she thought they would feel warmer. Such a hippy.

All too soon, it was time to thaw out and go home.

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After arriving home, we were soon at the beach in our shorts again, and sniffing the sweet ocean air. But we were so glad to visit such sweet friends and grateful for their immense generousity.

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Thanks friends! Miss you already!

 

The Day after Kitty.

11154738_10152897368202807_3102775492272619754_oThe day after Kitty’s 5th birthday was my birthday. It was also the day that she died.

The morning that Kitty’s body was found beside her family’s boat, my body went… numb. Waves of grief wash up , filled me and spilled out.

Then I made two pots of soup, baked two loaves of bread and made a double batch of cookies. It was clearly a bit neurotic of me. But I needed to do something.

As I sat down to a bowl of soup and a piece of bread, I realized I had made the soup for her, for them, but also for me. After a great sorrow, we need nourishment.

I think of the half-drawn art that Kitty must have left, the pockets of play tucked away in corners. And as I folded Gabrielle’s laundry, the grief overwhelmed again. Kitty’s clothes that Cidnie had generously sent up to us months ago.

Once I joined this tribe of women, when I moved onto a boat in a very pregnant state, I did not know we would laugh together, cry together, bleed together. I didn’t know these friendships would be life-shaping. But they are.

Here are some words from other friends as we process the hole left behind. A giant gaping hole fringed in sparkles, ribbon, bubbles and balloons. All the bits left over from a great birthday party.

Cindy: http://zachaboard.blogspot.ca/2015/04/kitty.html

Behan: http://www.sailingtotem.com/2015/04/some-good-must-come-from-this-tragedy.html

Laureen: http://theexcellentadventure.com/ea/2015/04/23/sheltering-from-the-wind/

Anne: http://frompinetopalm.com/2015/04/23/in-a-moment/#.VTxzll3g3Q0

Britney: http://www.windtraveler.net/2015/04/the-world-lost-bright-light.html

Brie’s Birthday and her Bonsais

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Brie turned 4.

She asked for a bonsai tree, a pinata and a stuffed Doozer from Fraggle Rock. I think my child might be a tad eccentric… should we blame it on the parents?

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She had a specific guest list with specific food items requested. The guests were mostly adults but some children. The food included hummus and veg, edamame beans, pie, black forest cake and cupcakes! When I was ordering her cake (yeah, I’m not making a black forest cake!) the lady on the phone and I were having trouble communicating. My first language was not Chinese and hers was not English. It was a struggle which I was relaying to Marc. Then when we picked up the cake, Gabrielle checked the spelling and said very loudly and much to my dismay, “Mom, she even spelled my name right even though you weren’t sure she would!”

Oh my goodness. Embarrassed.

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Turns out, Gabrielle enjoyed her party very much. But she asked that next year we invite even less people. My wee introvert.

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But thanks to Friends and Family, she got her bonsai tree, her doozer guy, and her pinata!

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So Gabrielle and her bonsai trees. It’s become a thing. She has three of them now. She religiously waters them, mists them, kisses them, sings to them. She has named them Spikey, Mommy bonsai and baby bonsai. She is excited to take them to the bonsai doctor for a soil change and a pruning. And as a result of these well-cared for little trees, she has been gifted other plants as well. A mexican hat plant and an aloe vera plant. She also has an air plant that she mists daily, and then soaks weekly for an hour in a pot. (Just like the internet and her daddy told her to.) This flare for botany has guests asking to see her plants when they come visit her. She proudly shows them her collection on the window sill. Soon, we will have a Japanese garden!

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On her actual birthday, she asked to have a quiet day. (Surprise surprise!) She floated things down her ditch.

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She opened some presents from friends away.

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She dug up some worms for her worm farm.

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And did some of her self-appointed chores.

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At the end of the day, she happily snuggled into her bed and asked me, “Mommy, am I really 4 now? For real? Or were we just pretending?”

No darling, you are four for real.

Happy Birthday Nut.

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